The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.
Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.
To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.
I really wanted to love this one. Especially with the author being from Chicago and that this story was based on things with her mom. But sadly this one fell flat for me. I’ll try to figure out what it was while writing this.
First, the pacing is really good. But, I actually wanted it to be slower. I feel like there was a lot of information that could have been added. It was hard at times to understand what was going on because things went back and forth in time. I had a harder time connecting to the characters, too. I wasn’t a big fan of Etta, which makes me sad. She is a strong, determined female protagonist, but I struggled with her quite a bit.
There were a couple characters I loved. First was Ryder. She’s a young orphan who pushed her way into Etta’s life. She was spunky and brave. The other was Reid. Etta is forced by Bray to go with Reid to find the directions to the maze. Along the way, we got to see how sweet Reid was. Even during tough times. He forgave easily and loved his family so much.
I liked the concept of this book. The gifted can transfer memories from one mind to another by touching them. This was supposed to be a special gift, but as many do, people want more and more power. They can take the memories of how to fight from a trained soldier and then do it. Madame was a perfect example of power corrupting. The ungifted can receive memories, but can’t transfer them. The ungifted are basically victims of Madame and the others who wanted power. They stole memories and sometimes gave false memories back. This was interesting because while reading, I wasn’t sure if the person was remembering things how they were or how they were told. Sifters are very powerful gifted. They can transfer memories without touching anyone. This comes in handy when they are being attacked. They can steal memories fast enough to kill someone without having any of the damage that regular gifted would have. They can also protect their minds from others.
The Shadows stood out to me, but I felt like there wasn’t enough from them. They take in orphans and others to protect them. They also run a black market of memories and fight. Ghosts are terrifying. They give horrible memories and are used as a type of soldier in a sense to make people suffer. Hunters take memories from animals and become somewhat animal themselves.
Overall, I liked the story, but there were a lot of things that just seemed sloppy or not thoroughly thought out. It’s possible there could be changes since I read a pretty early arc. I gave this book 3 stars.
Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my review copy.
Have you read The Memory Thief? Is it on your TBR?